First off, I'd like to congratulate the Boston Red Sox on winning the Wild Card and reaching the postseason for the 5th time in the past 6 years. My sincere apologies to my New York fam for feeling the sting of losing bout Yankee and Shea Stadium in the same year that neither the Yankees nor the Mets made the postseason.
The Red Sox finished the season with a 95-67 record (just one game below last season's) which was a great feat in itself considering all of the injuries the Red Sox sustained to Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, J.D. Drew, Tim Wakefield and David "Big Papi" Ortiz among others. The surprisingly terrible seasons turned in by Julio Lugo and Clay Buccholz along with a drop off in productivity at the plate from team captain Jason Varitek didn't deter the Red Sox from reaching the playoffs and they still almost won the AL East division crown in spite of them. Even the Manny Ramirez /Jason Bay trade didn't stop their surge to the postseason.
Timely contributions from Jed Lowrie, Alex Cora, Sean Casey, Jeff Bailey, Justin Masterson, Jason Bay and Mark Kotsay in addition to MVP caliber season turned in by Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia as well as excellent pitching from Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jon Lester helped the Sox keep pace all year. Jonathan Papelbon's 41 saves helped the Red Sox bullpen nail down a great number of important wins as well.
The defending World Series champions enter the postseason with an experienced roster that has been there and done that (minus Manny Ramirez). This pitching staff has won big games all year long and they did it on the biggest stage of all last October. The question is can they do it all again? They face a tall task in trying to knock off the Los Angeles-Anaheim Angels who were arguably the best team in all of MLB this past season. In a best of five series anything can happen, though!
I'd also like to tip my hat to the Red Sox management and ownership for doing the right thing and finally retiring the number of the legendary Johnny "Mr. Red Sox" Pesky. In my opinion, and in most of the hearts of the members of Red Sox Nation #6 was already up there. Hopefully, Jim Rice will receive the same honor and finally receive his long overdue induction into the Baseball Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Here's the schedule for the upcoming opening round playoff matchup:
October 1st 10:05 PM EST @ LAA J. Lester vs. J. Lackey
October 3rd 9:35 PM EST @ LAA D. Matsuzaka vs. E. Santana
October 5th 9:07 PM EST @ BOS J. Beckett vs. J. Saunders
October 6th TBA/if necessary
October 8th TBA/if necessary